History of karshi

The history of the city of Karshi goes back to the ancient settlement of Erkurgan, the remains of which are located about 10 km north of the modern city. While it was originally assumed that the town was founded around the 6th century B.C., excavations carried out in 2006 show that a settlement must have existed between the 10th and 7th centuries B.C. Under the previously known city wall from the 6th century B.C., the remains of a wall 200 years older were found. The design features of this wall show a remarkable similarity to the ancient city wall of Afrasiab (in today’s Samarkand). The size of the settlement is estimated at 40 hectares.

One of the earliest finds in the ruins of Erkurgan is the Dakhma, also called “Tower of Silence”, which served the Zoroastrians as a place for celestial burials. The bodies were placed in the Dakhma to separate the bones from the flesh. The bones were later collected and stored in a special ossuary (container made of clay). The Dakhma of Erkurgan was a tower about 11-12 meters high.

In the centre of Erkurgan a temple with frescoes, sculptures and jewellery was discovered. It was built about in the 3rd century after Christ. The walls of the sanctuary were decorated with colourful frescoes. Scientists suspect it to be some of the earliest examples of monumental art and even older than the frescoes of Samarkand.

Erkurgan was one of the largest and wealthiest cities of ancient Sogdiana. During the conquest by Turkic peoples, the city was largely destroyed.

The city’s social centre then changed to a strongly fortified feudal castle on today’s settlement of Shulluk-tepa. This city was called Nakhshab or Nasaf. In the course of the campaigns of Genghis Khan, this city was also affected. About 100 years later, the then ruler Khan Kebek had a residence built about 12-14 km away from Nasaf. This residence was called Karshi, which meant “palace”. With time, more and more inhabitants moved near the residence until a whole town was finally built. Nasaf, on the other hand, lost its importance and was eventually abandoned.

General information about karshi

  • Population of Karshi city: approx. 260.000 (2019)
  • Population of Kashkadarya province: approx. 3 million (as of 2019)
  • Elevation: 386 m
  • Area of Karshi: 28.6km2
  • Natural resources: In the region around Karshi, there are larger reserves of natural gas and oil.

Traditional dish in karshi

Karshi is known for “Umakay Jiz”. The dish originally comes from the small village of Umakay in the province of Kashkadarya and is prepared with marinated lamb. It is usually served with potatoes and fresh onions. This dish is widely offered in Samarkand’s restaurants, which offer beef and chicken versions as a variation.

Air connections: Karshi airport offers local flights to Tashkent and international flights to Russia. By charging low fees to airlines, the government hopes to attract providers to Karshi airport from the low-cost segment.

Rail connections: Karshi is connected to the high-speed network with daily trains to Samarkand and Tashkent. There are also regular connections to Termez.

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